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Wyoming Social Work Licensing Requirements

Although Wyoming is the 10th-largest state by size, it has the smallest population with just over 580,000. However, there are still many social work jobs available and the field shows promising growth in the future. The Wyoming Mental Health Professions Board (the “Board”) is responsible for issuing social work licenses and certifications. You must have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work and be licensed or certified by the Board to be employed in social worker jobs in Wyoming.

How to Become a Social Worker in Wyoming

Educational Paths

The minimum requirement for social work jobs in Wyoming is a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). A BSW will qualify you to apply for certification to practice generalist social work or clinical social work under direct supervision from an approved clinical supervisor. To practice clinical social work independently, it is necessary to obtain a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from a CSWE-accredited school or a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) first.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

A BSW degree prepares students to provide social work services to individuals, groups, families, and communities. The degree takes four years to complete through full-time study, or longer if you study part-time. At the beginning of the program, courses may include social science and liberal arts topics such as psychology, English, politics, and economics. In the final years, courses may focus on human behavior, cultural studies, communication, and social work theory. The BSW also includes a field experience component. Currently, the University of Wyoming offers the only CSWE-accredited BSW program in the state.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Completing an MSW degree prepares you to work in advanced generalist or clinical practice with individuals, families, and groups. Typically, the degree takes two years to complete if you do not already have a BSW from a CSWE-accredited school. If you do have a BSW, you may qualify for “advanced standing” to complete an MSW in one year instead. Courses may cover advanced practice, policy, research methods, and human behavior. The MSW also includes at least one field placement. The University of Wyoming currently offers the only CSWE-accredited MSW program in Wyoming.

Steps for Becoming a Licensed Social Worker in Wyoming

You must be either certified or licensed with the Board to work in social worker jobs in Wyoming. The Board offers two options to become a social worker – certified social worker (CSW) with a provisional license option and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Certification requires a BSW and allows you to practice in generalist Wyoming social work jobs or provide clinical services under the supervision of a Board-qualified clinician, whereas licensure requires an MSW plus supervised clinical experience and allows you to practice clinical social work in the state without supervision.

Certified Social Worker (CSW)

Before applying for social work certification, you must complete a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited school. The Board permits a six-month grace period to apply for certification if you find a job and can begin work immediately after graduation. To apply for certification, you must:

1. Submit your application to the Board.

Submit a paper application form to the Board along with a non-refundable $300 application fee, a copy of your right to legal presence in the United States (such as a copy of your birth certificate or passport), an official transcript of your BSW, three professional references, and a professional disclosure statement. If you plan to provide clinical services, you must also send the supervision agreement form as part of your application.

2. Pass the required exam.

Once the Board has received all your application materials, you will be given permission to sit for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. You may register for either the bachelor’s or master’s level exam; both exams have a fee of $230 as of January 2016. You will be allowed three attempts to pass the exam.

3. Receive your license.

After passing the required exam, the Board will process your application. This process usually takes two to three weeks. Once approved, your certification will be mailed to you.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

The second licensure option is the LCSW, which is appropriate for individuals who have substantial supervised clinical social work experience. However, after completing your MSW or DSW degree but before applying for the LCSW, you must apply for a provisional license that will allow you accumulate approved supervised clinical experience hours. Once you complete your MSW or DSW degree, you must:

1. Submit a provisional application to the Board.

The provisional clinical social worker license is a pre-qualifying step towards full LCSW licensure. You must submit the application form, a non-refundable $150 application fee (as of January 2016), a copy of documentation of your legal right to presence in the US, an official academic transcript, three professional references, a provisional supervision agreement, and a professional disclosure statement.

2. Receive your provisional clinical social work license.

If the Board approves your provisional license, you will receive your license in the mail. You may now begin accumulating supervised clinical practice experience.

3. Gain the necessary experience.

The LCSW requires at least 3,000 hours of supervised clinical practice experience overseen by a clinical supervisor qualified by the Board. Of these 3,000 hours, at least 1,200 hours must be direct practice with clients. You must also receive a minimum of 100 hours of direct, face-to-face supervision provided either individually or in a supervision triad.

4. Pass the required exam.

Once the Board approves your provisional license, you will also be given permission to sit for the appropriate ASWB exam. You may choose to sit for either the ASWB advanced generalist or clinical level exam. Both exams had a fee of $260 as of January 2016. You will have three attempts to pass the exam, but you must wait at least 90 days in between each attempt.

5. Submit the LCSW application to the Board.

Once you have accumulated the required experience and passed the ASWB exam, you will be ready to submit your application for LCSW. Send the application form, a non-refundable $200 fee (as of January 2016), a verification and evaluation of supervised experience form from each clinical supervisor, and your exam score. Your clinical work must continue to be supervised while you await the results of your application.

6. Receive your license.

If the Board approves your application, you will receive your full license in the mail within two to three weeks. You are now able to practice unsupervised clinical social work in Wyoming.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Wyoming

Wyoming does offer reciprocity for both social work certification and licensure. To be eligible for CSW reciprocity, you must have a BSW from a CSWE-accredited school and be actively licensed in a state with similar requirements. You must send an application package that includes the CSW by reciprocity application form, a non-refundable $300 application fee (as of January 2016), a copy of your documented right to legal presence in the US, a state license/certification verification form, three professional references, a supervision agreement (if you will be providing clinical services), an official transcript from your BSW, and a professional disclosure statement. For full instructions and the forms, visit the Wyoming Board’s website.

It is also possible to apply for the LCSW if you are already licensed in a state with similar requirements. To apply for LCSW by reciprocity, you must submit the LCSW by reciprocity application form, a non-refundable $350 application fee (as of January 2016), a copy of your right to legal presence in the US, a state license/certification verification form, three professional references, your MSW or DSW transcript, and a professional disclosure statement. If you are licensed in a state that does not have similar requirements to Wyoming, you may apply for the provisional license to gain more experience and eventually work towards obtaining your LCSW. For full instructions on how to apply for licensure by reciprocity, visit the Wyoming Board’s website.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Wyoming social work certifications and licenses expire on each licensee’s birthday following the second anniversary of the issue date. After this initial period, the license will expire every two years on the licensee’s birthday. There is no grace period for certification or licensure renewal. You must submit either the certification renewal form and a $100 renewal fee or the licensure renewal form and a $125 renewal fee to the Board (as of January 2016). For full instructions, visit the Board’s website.

CSWs and LCSWs are required to complete at least 45 hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year renewal period; however, there are no requirements in terms of content or format. It is possible to transfer your certification or license to retired status, which eliminates the CE requirement; however, you are not permitted to provide any services as a retired social worker.

Wyoming Social Work Jobs and Salary Information

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 1,000 people are employed in Wyoming social work jobs.1 The average salary is $48,297, with similar earnings across all fields of social work jobs in Wyoming.1 The average growth of all types of social worker jobs in Wyoming is projected to be 15.2% by 2022.2 Healthcare social work is expected to experience the greatest growth (22.0%), while the area of mental health and substance abuse social work shows similar growth at 21.0%.2 Child, family and school social work jobs are also expected to increase by 13.3%, and all other Wyoming social work jobs by 4.4%.2

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 670 $46,760
Healthcare Social Workers 150 $50,230
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers 180 $47,900
Social Workers, All Other Figure not available* Figure not available*

*Data not currently available from the BLS.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.1

Social Work Associations in Wyoming

  • National Association of Social Workers: Wyoming Chapter – This local chapter of the NASW helps Wyoming social workers with employment assistance, CE opportunities, and networking events. It also provides timely information about social work issues and advocacy across the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How long do I have to complete the LCSW requirements with my provisional license?

Answer: Provisional licenses are valid for three years. It is possible to apply for a six-month extension if you have completed your supervised clinical hours but need more time to sit for the exam, or a three-year extension to complete the required supervised practice hours if you have already passed the exam.

Question: Does my supervisor need to be a licensed clinical social worker?

Answer: Not necessarily. The Board may also approve supervision agreements with qualified counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists in addition to LCSWs.

Question: Do I need to complete my studies at the University of Wyoming to apply to social work jobs in Wyoming?

Answer: No. Although the University of Wyoming currently offers the only CSWE-accredited BSW and MSW programs in the state, you may complete your studies at any other CSWE-accredited school and still be eligible for certification or licensure in Wyoming.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Wyoming: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wy.htm
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. Wyoming Mental Health Professions Board: http://mentalhealth.wyo.gov/
4. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Wyoming: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/56